) biopharmaceutical division Merck Serono inked a deal with Mersana
Therapeutics for the development of next-generation antibody-drug
conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer.
The antibody present in ADCs targets cancer cells and specifically
delivers the cytotoxic drug to these cells so as to increase the
level of drug reaching the tumor site.
Terms of the Deal
Merck KGaA will provide monoclonal antibodies to Mersana for the
development of ADCs using Mersana's Fleximer technology platform.
Merck KGaA has an exclusive license from Mersana to develop and
commercialize any product under this agreement. The company intends
to employ a collaborative research and development model and create
strategic partnerships to drive innovation.
In addition to an upfront payment, Mersana will receive milestone
payments and royalties on worldwide net sales of the products.
The agreement should be beneficial for Merck KGaA since the company
will be able to expand its oncology portfolio. With this deal,
Merck KGaA's cancer immunotherapy portfolio, which consists of both
early-stage and late-stage candidates, will be strengthened.
Currently, Merck KGaA is focusing on its immuno-oncology portfolio
and has inked quite a few deals to boost its pipeline in this
disease area. Earlier this month, the company entered into an
agreement with MorphoSys AG for the discovery and development of
therapeutic antibodies against undisclosed immune checkpoints.
The use of ADCs is becoming an important method of treatment that
allows selective administration of highly cytotoxic agents to the
tumor cells thereby sparing normal tissue. Some ADCs approved for
the treatment of cancer include
) Kadcyla and
Merck KGaA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in
the health care sector is
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc.
) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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